I went to an event yesterday where there were lots of fabulously dressed, glamorous women with interesting jobs and big personalities.
I went alone, although I was meeting a friend there so I wasn’t too nervous. That is until my hayfever went wild on my way to the venue and my make up smeared down my face making me look like Heath Ledger’s Joker. I managed to reassemble my face, semi successfully, but it did slightly damage the thin veneer of confidence I had carefully cultivated for the occasion.
The venue, The Refinery, was very swish but it wasn’t exclusive to the meet up. Everywhere you looked there was carefully preened and pruned women (and men) who had made way more effort than I had with their appearance. Too much ‘fakery’, isn’t me but I’m all for doing whatever it is that makes you confident and happy and there was a lot of enhancements in the room. Hair peices, eyelashes, fake tan, sky scraper heels. And then there’s me. Pasty, a bit frizzy, big old knickers and flat sandals because I wrecked my feet in a pair of silly shoes last week and now my toes look like victims of frostbite.
Pushing that little self deprecating monster back down into the depths of my mind, I put on my best wonky toothed smile and introduced myself to people. But then someone asked me what I did and I described myself as ‘just a mum’.
JUST. A. MUM.
I was so mad with myself.
I cannot believe I belittled myself in that way. I didn’t mean to and I would be so cross with any stay at home Mum who described themselves like that.
JUST. A. MUM.
Society has taught us that being JUST A MUM, means very little in terms of social status. To admit you are a stay at home Mum is like saying you were too lazy to work. We are made to believe that not being career driven makes us somewhat of a failure and a less interesting person if we choose to be JUST A MUM.
There is nothing ‘just’ about it. There is no small thing about being a stay at home Mum. It takes a lot. It requires a fair bit of sacrifice and significant lifestyle adjustments.
There are no breaks.
There are no sick days.
There’s no HR.
There’s no lunch hour.
There’s no little chats with your mate in the canteen.
There’s not even any other adults prssent some days.
There’s no training or apprenticeship to prepare you for your role.
There’s no staff discounts or interesting perks.
There’s no financial reward.
There are no holidays.
There’s absolutely no reward or praise system for the stay-at-home parent, although there is a significant amount of criticism and complaints from both the children you care for and the outside world who all think they know ways in which you could improve your performance.
Just a Mum. I’m still reeling. It’s the greatest responsibility and I should never have down played it like that. It was a slip of the tongue or maybe I was feeling self conscious or hormonal or perhaps it’s because I downed a glass of prosecco to quench my thirst from walking in the hot sun – ‘cos I’m classy like that.
Whatever the reason, I want to go back in time and tell the lady who asked that I’m a stay at home Mum and bloody proud of it. I also blog for fun and run a Mum Club, hosting regular events whilst creating a support network for those who need it. Many of whom reach out to me regularly, sometimes at midnight and I’m always there to lend an ear or a word of advice and I’m actually doing some good with my life.
So yeah, I’m a stay at home Mum who loves her community, raising two brilliant little people who might one day change the world or they might clean your toilet but either way I will be proud of them and me and our journey and all the things we’ve done and learned together.